Hatteras Inlet

The first amphibious landing by Marines in the Civil War occurred on August 28, 1861, when Flag Officer Silas H.Stringham sent a combined battalion of soldiers and Marines ashore in surfboats to capture Forts Hatteras and Clark in Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. The action began at 6am when Marines from the screw frigate Minnesota, led by Capt William L.Shuttleworth, arrived aboard the steamship Monticello, to be joined shortly afterwards by the Marines from the frigate Wabash. At 11.45am this combined force transferred into the shallow-draught steamer Fanny, which took them closer to the shore. Climbing down into landing craft, they were rowed to the beach; due to strong winds and a heavy surf, only 54 Marines plus several officers got ashore. According to a correspondent of the New York Illustrated News accompanying the expedition, every one of the landing boats was either "broken up or

The first amphibious landing by the USMC during the Civil War took place when marines under Capt Shuttleworth took part in the operation to capture Forts Hatteras and Clark at Hatteras Inlet, NC, on August 28, 1861. Published in the New York Illustrated News on September 16, this engraving shows the difficult landing through heavy surf, which wrecked several boats. (National Archives 127-N-30g959)

beached," and the remaining landing parties were cancelled. Cut off from the fleet, the landing force took shelter while the Navy shelled the Confederate works. When, at about 3pm, the Federals ashore advanced along the beach toward Fort Clark, the Confederate garrison abandoned it and fell back to Fort Hatteras; the Marines and soldiers entered Fort Clark without a fight, and spent the night awaiting a counter-attack that never came. The next day Stringham succeeded in pounding Fort Hatteras into submission, following which he reported that not a "single officer or man of the Navy, Army, or Marines" was injured. The Federals had gained their first foothold on the North Carolina coast, and captured 670 prisoners, 1,000 small arms and 35 cannon.

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